by Jordan DeWald
“Who wouldn’t want to be an American?” Ihechiluru Ekeke posed this question when he spoke of the opportunity he was given to move to the United States from his home country of Nigeria. Ekeke has realized the dreams that living in the United States affords and returns the blessings to his community through his business, Mr. Handyman of Burleson, Midlothian, and East Cleburne.
Ekeke moved to New York in 1995 when he was twenty-five years old on an Immigrant Visa after being selected in the visa lottery program. Two years later he enlisted in the United States Army, thinking he might serve for a few years then get out. He fell in love with the US military though and decided to make a career out of it. He went to Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a Field Artillery Officer. He retired as a captain after serving for twenty years. During his time of service, he had several overseas tours including time in Iraq, Kuwait, and Korea. He taught Military Science to ROTC students as well, which is what brought him to Texas. He taught at the University of Texas at Arlington and he and his family decided to make North Texas their home.
Ekeke retired from the military in 2017 to focus his time on his family. He first met his wife, Ogechi, in Nigeria and after he got his start in the United States, he returned to marry her, and she moved to join him in the US in 2002. Together they have four children: one daughter and three sons. His wife is a Nurse Practitioner in the area. After retiring from the military Ekeke went through the Executive MBA program at TCU, graduating in the spring of 2019. By August of 2019 he began the process of starting a business and by February of 2020 he had purchased and opened a franchise of Mr. Handyman. He spent a great deal of time researching several other companies, but it was the core values of Mr. Handyman that caught his attention. He wanted to be a part of a business that allowed him to give back to other people.
Ekeke is not a handyman by trade, he is a soldier turned businessman. Rather, he hires employees that are skilled technicians in various forms of home repair. The business model of Mr. Handyman allows for work to be fully insured and guaranteed for a year. He hires all his technicians as full employees who are insured, bonded and have minimum of 10 years of experience. They specialize in the home repair services.
Mr. Handyman has a company-wide Day of Service where the franchise owners donate material and their staff’s time to benefit someone in the community. Because of his military experience, Ekeke knows the challenges often faced within the veteran community and has decided to use the Day of Service to help out other veterans. He is working with local organizations to identify fellow veterans who would benefit from the services of Mr. Handyman. He has already identified the benefactor of the first Day of Service that will happen in the summer of 2020. Not only will he have his employees helping this veteran but Ekeke plans to have his family also working alongside him to benefit this veteran.
He inspires others to join alongside him in the work to benefit veterans. Another Mr. Handyman owner in a different part of North Texas has already committed to join Ekeke in his service work and Ekeke only sees the opportunity for growth. He welcomes the opportunity to partner with other Burleson businesses and community members to serve the veteran community.
Ekeke is a man of faith with a deeply rooted belief in God and recognition that God directs everything he does. That faith has given him confidence to start a new life in a new country as a young man, faithfully serve the United States in the military, and start a new adventure as a businessman.